Gulliver baseball coach Javy Rodriguez has been fired by the school for sending a sexually explicit video to his players.
A statement obtained by the Miami Herald, written by Gulliver Head of Schools Frank Steel on Thursday, stated:
“Coach Rodriguez’s departure follows an investigation we undertook after learning of a certain inappropriate electronic communication containing or linking to a brief, sexually explicit video that he sent to members of the varsity baseball team during the 2015 season.
“Our students’ well-being is paramount, and our day-to-day life at Gulliver is organized first and foremost around this principle. Clearly, such actions by any employee are not acceptable in our school community and will not be tolerated.”
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When reached by phone Thursday evening, a distraught Rodriguez confirmed he sent one text to his players in late December — two months before the baseball season began.
“I apologize to anybody I hurt,” Rodriguez said. “I made a mistake. But to say that I was sending inappropriate videos intentionally to my players, that never happened.
“It happened on Dec. 21. I got a text from a friend to look at a video that was going around,” Rodriguez said. “I get so many stupid texts and jokes sometimes and I didn’t know what it was. It was a text that had a girl undressing and it changed to something inappropriate. I thought I was sending the text to my other varsity coaches and I mistakenly sent it to the varsity team.
“I got a response immediately from one of my players and I immediately apologized to him and called together the rest of the team. I told them I made a mistake and I apologized.”
Rodriguez said the school told him Monday he was no longer employed, nearly 10 months since the incident occurred. He said none of his players brought up the subject since.
“I’m not happy with how this has come out …” Rodriguez said. “I sent one text by mistake and corrected the situation within 60 seconds of it happening. I had forgotten about it. My players never brought it up.”
Rodriguez, a Gulliver graduate, has coached Gulliver for the past five seasons, leading the Raiders to a state runner-up finish in 2010 and five regional playoff appearances.
A former University of Miami baseball standout, Rodriguez set that school’s single-season stolen bases record in 2001, and last year was inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame. Rodriguez was drafted in 2002 by the Anaheim Angels and played three years in the minor leagues before injuries forced him to retire. Shortly after, Rodriguez began coaching youth league baseball and eventually at the high school level.
Steel’s statement also said: “Moving forward, we will be engaging outside support to reaffirm all our employees’ understanding of our policies and of best practices regarding appropriate communications.
“We also will look at ways to support students and parents with better pathways to report such issues to us. It is important that we are all able to be confident in the protection of our students. Moreover, we understand the importance of transparency to our community as a whole and as a model for our students.”
Gulliver school officials told The Herald said they are looking to hire a new baseball coach.
Gulliver had another incident involving inappropriate behavior by a baseball coach in 2005 when it fired then-coach Lazaro “Lazer” Collazo. The school dismissed Collazo after an incident in which he pulled his pants down in front of his players during an angry tirade.